Facebook is the new phone book. If you are in business and you haven’t taken the basic steps to set up a Facebook page — well, there are several “Social Media 101” pages on the web that you should read.

Even though Facebook has 2 billion users monthly, you shouldn’t commit all your social media money and effort into one channel. Increasingly, Instagram (which is owned by Facebook), with its 800 million monthly users, is becoming the No. 2 choice for building a brand. Instagram now has a much younger user base. The Pew Research Center does excellent work researching social media. In its 2018 report, it found that 71 percent of 18- to 24-yer-olds use Instagram and 60 percent of Instagram users visit the site multiple times a day.

It’s not just the users’ age, but the type of content that they are looking for that makes Instagram valuable. According to an Ipsos survey — commissioned by Facebook — Instagram users are more likely to look for photography, fashion, beauty, and design and architecture on Instagram than on Facebook. If your business is selling a look, Instagram should be the FIRST choice for you when deciding how to allocate social media efforts.

Instagram is easier for marketing

Anyone who has been using Facebook for marketing knows that it is far more difficult to put up content that will be shared widely. Facebook has had a couple of difficult years with the “Fake News” phenomenon and consciously changed its algorithm to make the platform more of a “family and friends sharing tool.”

Alfred Lua of Buffer researched the algorithms for Facebook and Instagram and found some key differences in how non-advertisement posts rank. For Facebook, the key factors are:

  1. Posts from friends and family.
  2. Engagement, how many likes, comments and shares.
  3. Encouraging engagement, posts that are likely to start a conversation.
  4. Images and videos.
  5. Clickbait is demoted.
  6. Promotional posts are demoted. Facebook actually checks text against known advertisements and demotes unofficial ads.

Compare that list with what’s most important in Instagram:

  1. Engagement.
  2. Relevancy, are the post’s themes relevant to the user’s past history?
  3. Relationships, posts from accounts that the user interacts with frequently are ranked higher.
  4. Timeliness.
  5. Profile searches, posts from accounts that users have searched for are ranked higher.
  6. Direct shares.
  7. Time spent on post.

Facebook consciously is pushing marketers to paid advertising to get the word out about their brands. That makes Instagram a better choice for direct marketing. Instagram users use the platform for discovery and not as much for interaction. It’s a style resource; a place to learn new trends, discover new artists and keep up with celebrities.

Mastering Instagram

Of course, if you feel like you’ve just gotten to second base when it comes to mastering Facebook, it may seem like too much of a leap to learn Instagram. Simplymeasured, a company that focuses on social media analytics to help companies increase their ROI, published a white paper with tips from companies that are using the platform well.

  • Extending opportunities doesn’t have to mean contests. IMG Modeling asks its followers to post pictures of themselves in their favorite jeans. They are looking for fresh faces and allowing the public to use its following to get themselves out there.
  • Sell lifestyle, not product. Nike doesn’t push product with its posts. It focuses on pictures of incredibly fit and active people wearing its shoes and clothes. It ties the swoosh to the fit lifestyle.
  • Longform copy isn’t dead. If you want to tell a story, tell it with the images enhancing the words. National Geographic is the most popular brand on Instagram, and its posters write lengthy, informative captions. People will read on Instagram if the words flow.
  • Instagram is perfect to rally around customers. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has #SubmissionFriday in which followers can submit their art for a chance to have their work acknowledged by the museum’s audience. GoPro regularly uses Instagram to show off the adventurers of the people using their product. These companies use Instagram to highlight people who embody their brand.
  • Don’t use Instagram Stores to push product. Sure, you can link outside the app, but this is better used to give your followers a look inside your organization. Show off sneak peeks of upcoming stuff, office cultures, fun instant polls.
  • Your Instagram profile is just as important as your website’s homepage. About 200 million Instagram users visit a business profile every day. It’s highly likely that it might be the first time the visitor has seen your brand. You need to put as much thought into that little space as you do your website’s home page. Use Highlights to pin important brand messages, stories and opportunities to sell. A well-crafted bio section gives users everything they need to know about your brand.
  • Get into Throwback Thursday: #TBT is a perfect time to build a connection with your audience by sharing your brand’s origin. This is especially useful for older brands looking to connect with Instagram’s younger crowd. Wells Fargo digs deep into its corporate archives to share stories of how it built itself from a small western bank into a national financial powerhouse.
  • Make collaborations interactive. Canon, of course, is perfect for Instagram. But you still have to be creative. It launched the #ShootForGreatness story-tag campaign. It’s essentially a social media version of “pass the story.” Participants showcased their personal photography and sent their followers from account to account to stitch together pieces of a story. Ultimately, it led Instagram to Canon’s latest camera.